Bonding With Your Newborn
"Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" --Author unknown.
It can be frightening to have your infant hospitalized; hospitals can be intimidating. There are many machines, medicines, and complicated equipment. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about your baby, what things are, what they are doing and why. If you have a need, ask. Nurses are trained to help, and can advocate on your behalf! Here are some suggestions you may find helpful:
Tell the nurses you would like to bond as much as possible with your baby. Ask them to allow you to:
- Change your baby’s diaper
- Bathe your baby, wash his/her hair
- Massage your baby’s joints and muscles
- Help with taking vital signs – taking his/her temperature
- Apply lotion if your baby’s skin is dry
- Put petroleum jelly on his/her lips if they are chapped and cracked
- Touch, hold, touch – as much as possible
- Request Kangaroo Care if possible (where the baby and mother are placed skin-to-skin for bonding time)
- Take lots of pictures! You won’t regret it. Keep a camera with you at all times. You never know when the nurses will change tubes, wires, etc. and you may have the opportunity to take pictures without these items or when your baby has his/her eyes open. Let them know you would like to take pictures of your baby without as many tubes and wires whenever possible, and in his/her own clothes.
Ask if you can:
- Bring in personal items for the baby, including baby blankets, to personalize his/her space.
- Comb his/her hair, use ribbons, bows
- Put socks on your baby’s feet – even clothes if there are not too many machines and tube
- If allowed, play music with a CD or cassette player. (This may soothe not only your baby but you as well.)
- Hold your baby – even if you she/he cannot be picked up due to machines and equipment, you may be able to feel your baby’s weight in your hands – ask!
- Feed your baby when the time comes to begin that.
- Pump breast milk for your baby. (It can be frozen for future use.)
- If you are not staying in the hospital, ask to be notified of all changes – to be called or paged of changes. Feel free to call and check in as often as you would like to find out the status of your little one, even during the middle of the night.
- If you would like to stay the night, ask if there is a patient, family room or other accommodation you may sleep in. Hospitals vary with their family accommodations and some have rooms – even nursing mother’s rooms to use.